In a special focus on innovation and new technologies, Anne-Sophie David, journalist for the New Economist, writes on MISSING.NET, research engine for missing people. This tool, conceived by the Red Helmets Foundation, is devoted to be used after natural disasters occur. Excerpts of the article.
In some areas on earth, it has become less easy to send humanitarian staffs, because of a rising dangerousness. That's the core of the growing interest for technological tools as Skype, which enable people to remain in contact, while remaining safe. "We use Skype in 32 countries, to easy teleconferences with teams on the ground" confirms Antoine Peigney, Red Cross international relations and operations Director.
The Red Cross also exploits, via a partnership with the French Weather service, satellite pictures so as to keep an eye on developing hurricanes for example. However, if this solution is not new, the means put in place to warn the populations are. Thanks to the quick spread of mobile phones, even in isolated areas, it has become more simply to take prevention actions at a wide scale. "In Haiti, through a partnership with a local mobile phone operator, tells Antoine Peigney, we were able to send SMS on people's phones, to give them advices, because of two endemic peaks of cholera".
This strategy was also used for following patients who had endured a medical intervention:"in Bamako, Mali, we used SMS too, to keep in touch with the mothers of children who had had an operation." Skype, texts but research engines as well. Launched by the Red Helmets Foundation just one year ago, during the Japanese earthquake, "Missing.net" is the very first research engine of the kind. Developed, in partnership with Google, it aims at facilitating missing people research after natural disasters. Nicole Guedj, former minister and founder of the Foundation that initiated the project testifies: "the idea rose during my experience in the government, where I was charged to accompany the victims of the South-East tsunami. I could witness then how hard, for the families, it was to find a hint on where their missing close was.”
Find the whole article on the website lenouveleconomiste.fr